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What Does Welterweight Really Mean?

The hype surrounding Conor McGregor's return to the UFC to face Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone could not be any higher after Conor first teased the fight almost one year ago. A major talking point emerged surrounding the bout, however, when it was announced not for MMA's lightweight division, but rather the heavier welterweight division. But that begs the question: what's the origin of the world "welterweight," anyway?

Let us explain.

What Does the 'Welter' in Welterweight Mean?

First used in reference to boxing weight classes in the 1890s, it's not universally accepted as to where the "welter" in welterweight came from. A number of sources suggest that it originates with the verb "to welt" -- that is, "to beat severely." It has been used in the past to refer not just to moderately heavy fighters, but also to similarly weighted horse-riders (a tidbit we discoverd courtesy of our friends over at Mental Floss).

How Much Does a Welterweight Weigh in Boxing?

Notably, welterweights in boxing are lighter than their mixed martial arts counterparts, weighing from 140 to a maximum of 147 pounds. Legends of the weight division include current WBA champ Manny Pacquiao as well as Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, and Thomas Hearns.

How Much Does a Welterweight Weigh in MMA?

Compared to boxing, welterweights in mixed martial arts are giants. With a weight range of 156 to 170 pounds based on unified rules -- Asia's ONE Championship sets the limit at 84 kg, or 185.2 pounds -- fighters in this division all contain knockout power while also maintaining the ability to move with intimidating grace. The athleticism of welterweight fighters is something to be admired, with current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman setting the pace for the division. Great MMA welterweights of past and present include Georges St-Pierre, Robbie Lawler, Jorge Masvidal, and Matt Hughes.